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'Instant translation' glasses to come online for 2020 Olympics

Japan's NTT Docomo plans 5G network 100 times faster than LTE at Tokyo's games

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

NTT Docomo has wasted no time ramping up the excitement ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games, in announcing a 5G network 100 times faster than LTE and augmented reality “instant translation” glasses – both of which should be ready by 2020.

Both innovations were unveiled at IT and electronics show CEATEC 2013 in Tokyo this week.

It’s still early days for the network technology – at least, all the Japanese operator seems to have brought to the show was a small illustrated chart snapped by Slashgear.

However, it reveals that NTT Docomo is hoping to create a super-speedy network 100 times faster and 1,000 times the capacity of LTE.

There’s not much else in the way of detail, apart from the fact the firm is hoping to tap higher frequencies, given that the sub-3GHz space is getting crowded, with small cells used to boost coverage in certain areas.

Although NTT conducted a 10Gbps test back in March, it isn’t the first to announce 5G plans. Huawei already showed its hand back in August, speaking of a similarly uber-fast network, and Samsung has demonstrated 1Gbps wireless technology.

As El Reg has pointed out in the past, any such associated standard certainly hasn’t been ratified yet and will probably not be called “5G” when it is, but in the absence of any other term, it’ll have to do.

On the other front, NTT Docomo showed off its answer to Google Glass – Intelligent Glasses which can translate text on-the-fly.

A demo seen by the Beeb put translation time for the prototype at a lengthy five seconds, although improved speeds will certainly come as the technology is honed.

They could certainly be popular among tourists to Japan in 2020, although having struggled with hilariously mis-translated menus many times before abroad, those algorithms will have to be spot on for the glasses to be useful.

Other features include the ability to interact with a flat surface as if it was a touchscreen, with a specially designed ring worn by the user recording and relaying hand movements.

The glasses can apparently also bring up the personal details of people in their line of vision, using facial recognition software – holding out the tantalising prospect of never again being embarrassed after forgetting someone’s name at a party. ®

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